Soaring NHS compensation payouts in Scotland following medical blunders have prompted a call for a cap on the payments from Labour politicians.

New figures show compensation reached £26m last year - double that of the previous year and five times the figure from a decade ago.

Labour health spokeswoman Cathy Jamieson, a former justice minister, is calling for a shake-up of the system after Scotland’s health boards settled 171 cases in 2008-9 - totalling £26m.

Cathy Jamieson said: “NHS patients have the right to make complaints and receive compensation when things go wrong.

“But these figures provide yet more evidence that the current system is cumbersome and expensive.”

The party is backing calls from the British Medical Association for a “less adversarial” system to be introduced for resolving claims which it says will better serve the interests of patients.

“A system of no-fault compensation with maximum limits would be good for both patients and the NHS as a whole because it would be quicker and save money,” she said.

Greater Glasgow and Clyde topped the list of payouts with £8.8m, with Fife next on £4.5m from just three cases, while Grampian paid out £4.3m.

The lowest was NHS Western Isles which paid out just £3,000 for one case, while the figure in the Borders was £24,000.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We believe the large increase in the amounts paid out between these two years is caused by a larger number of high value settlements - mostly birth related cases which can often take years to settle.”